Syria: destruction, suffering, death. Nowadays if you were to ask German people what they associate with this war-torn country, they may very well come up with these words.
The Syrian photographer Mohamad al-Roumi, whose pictures of his native country constitute an extraordinary life's work, is now showing a different side to Syria in his exhibition “Contrast Syria" at the Museum für Islamische Kunst. Here visitors can see pictures taken in Syria's north-eastern provinces during the 1990s, showing the region's nomadic population and the working conditions to be found in its poverty-stricken towns. Many of the people currently arriving in Germany call these parts of Syria their home.
Mohamad al-Roumi invites visitors to share his highly personal view of his homeland, mediated through a sophisticated and authentic visual language. There is nothing left to chance; rather, each picture seems to convey some actual essence of reality. Al-Roumi seeks to craft a special expressive idiom, directing our gaze both to the beauty and ugliness of everyday life. Contemplation is accorded a particularly significant role in the photographs, which were evidently not created spontaneously. A profound sense of reverence characterizes his portraits of people who, despite often being engaged in exhausting work, still radiate tremendous dignity.
It is precisely this highly personal perspective that allows Mohamad al-Roumi to show what Syria really is: a home to people from a variety of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. By offering a Syrian's perspective on his own homeland, the photographs lend a view of the country distinct from the image that we have recently become accustomed to seeing. This helps provide a better understanding of Syria's significance for its inhabitants and a clearer sense of their actual everyday reality.
The exhibition is organized in cooperation with the Syrian Heritage Archive Project and supported by the German Foreign Office.
Please note: Pergamonmuseum is exclusively entered through James-Simon-Galerie!
Site plan: Entrance to the Pergamonmuseum and Neues Museum (PDF)
All groups meet at the information desk at the upper foyer in James-Simon-Galerie, entering by using the big stairway.
Advice for group visits to the Pergamonmuseum an the Neues Museum (PDF)
Due to a technical issue, the lift is out of service until further notice, meaning the Museum für Islamische Kunst is not currently wheelchair accessible. The major architectural exhibits – such as the Processional Way, featuring the Ishtar Gate and the Market Gate of Miletus – are still accessible to people with mobility issues.
U-Bahn U6 (Friedrichstraße)
S-Bahn S1, S2, S25, S26 (Friedrichstraße); S3, S5, S7, S9 (Hackescher Markt)
Tram M1, 12 (Am Kupfergraben); M4, M5, M6 (Hackescher Markt)
Bus TXL (Staatsoper); 100, 200 (Lustgarten); 147 (Friedrichstraße)
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